Review of Drug Court and specialist courts
Queensland Courts is currently conducting a review into the reinstatement of a Drug Court in Queensland, and an overarching framework for Queensland’s specialist courts and court programs.
The Queensland Government commissioned the review as part of its election commitment to reinstate specialist courts and diversionary programs.
About the review
The review will ensure that options for the reinstated Drug Court are evidence-based and cost-effective, and reflect best practice around addressing drug-related offending.
It also considers how to best improve the current suite of court programs to enhance their operation.
The review commenced in late 2015 and has involved:
- extensive consultation with government and non-government stakeholders
- a review of best practice in specialist court, and court diversionary approaches in Australia and overseas, to address issues around offending, such as drug and/or alcohol issues, mental health issues and housing instability
- a review of best practice in court-based alcohol and other drug interventions in Australia and overseas to address issues linked to offending.
The review is developing options and models for reform, which the Queensland Government will soon consider.
About the previous Drug Court
Until it ceased operation, the former Queensland Drug Court operated in five court locations across Queensland (Beenleigh, Ipswich and Southport in South East Queensland, and Cairns and Townsville in North East Queensland) as a post-sentence option.
It operated under the Drug Court Act 2000, which was repealed in 2013.
The following reports evaluated the former Drug Court, including referral, participation and outcomes such as rate of reoffending (recidivism) in the program and after graduation or termination:
- Jason Payne, 'Final report on the North Queensland Drug Court' (2005) Australian Institute of Criminology: Technical and Background Paper, No. 17
- Jason Payne, ‘The Queensland Drug Court: a recidivism study of the first 100 graduates’ (2008) Research and Public Policy Series, Australian Institute of Criminology
- Toni Makkai and Keenan Veraar, ‘Final Report on the South East Queensland Drug Court’ (2003) Australian Institute of Criminology: Technical and Background Paper Series No.6.